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Europe: More Countries May Hold Nazi Gold

Geneva, 24 June 1997 (RFE/RL) - A Jewish human rights leader today demanded that countries other than Swizerland examine their banks for any money deposited by Germany's Nazi government during World War II.

Marvin Hier of the Simon Wisenthal Center said Austria, Sweden, Spain, and Portugal may still hold gold stolen by the Nazis from conquered territory and from European Jews. He said banks in Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay also may hold plundered gold.

Hier spoke as specialists from 18 countries met in Geneva to discuss how works of art and other assets stolen by the Nazis in the 1930s and 1940s could be recovered.

The event is organized by the Los Angeles-based Simon Wisenthal Center. Wiesenthal, a hunter of Nazi war criminals, is due to speak at the conclusion of the conference tomorrow.

Switzerland has recognized that its banks held Nazi gold deposits. In compensation, Bern has created a fund worth some $170 million to help surviving Jewish victims of the Nazis.